"Construction of the new cultural auditorium in Ariel, taking students on tours of the West Bank, and now the plan to turn the 'university center' in Ariel into a full-fledged university, are erasing the pre-1967 borders from the collective consciousness of both Palestinians and Israelis.


When the violent conflict in the territories was at its height a decade or so ago, then IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon said Israel's goal was to sear the Palestinians' consciousness with the understanding that violence doesn't pay.

Today, the government in which Ya'alon now serves as a minister doesn't miss an opportunity to sear the consciousness of Palestinians and Israelis alike with the idea that a diplomatic agreement on a two-state solution is no longer on the table.

The expansion of settlements and the legalization of outposts have contributed to the physical erasure of the Green Line. Construction of the new cultural auditorium in Ariel, taking students on tours of the West Bank, and now the plan to turn the "university center" in Ariel into a full-fledged university, are similarly erasing the pre-1967 borders from the collective consciousness of both Palestinians and Israelis.

But Ariel is not just another "location."

It is situated in occupied territory that is a focus of controversy both within Israeli society and in the international community.

The State of Israel has barred Palestinians from most of the territory of the West Bank. They are permitted to build Ariel's houses, but not to live there. Ariel, like all the other settlements, is a closed military zone as far as they are concerned.

If the government wishes to keep the two-state solution in the public consciousness, and/or to protect the status of Israeli universities within the international academic community, it would do better to call a halt to this dangerous move that the education minister is promoting."


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